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The concept of authority simply masks the possession of power. Discuss

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7/5/15 The concept of authority simply masks the possession of power. Discuss (30 marks) By authority we are referring to that which is held by states, Descriptive Practical Authority (DPA) and, is applicable, Normative Practical Authority (NPA). Power is simply the means by which all of us are able to do anything ? from picking up a pen in order to write, to becoming Prime Minister in order to govern and to persuasion in order to gain influence. This question is fundamentally flawed for it implies that the possession of power is somehow separate from the possession of authority. As we shall see in this essay, power is something all of us need and crave, and authority is there to provide legitimacy to only the ?correct? sort of power. ...read more.


A state then, has authority, and thus legitimacy, if it can maintain public order ? DPA, a defacto judgement, gives NPA: North Korea in this light be said to be rightful or legitimate in holding its power. Other philosophers, such as John Locke, do not believe that the ?State of Nature? would be as bad as Hobbes made out. He instead thinks that because we have Natural Rights, inalienable and discoverable by all rational beings ? bestowed from God ? the ?State of Nature? would not be a ?state of licence.? Be that as it may, he presented the argument that only a state could protect these Natural Rights of ?life, liberty and property? effectively. ...read more.


If we take the view of Marx Stirner, an individualist anarchist, one can only have authority over one?s own power ? in other words ? one makes one?s own choices according to ones ethics and conscience. Only they, the individual, can give legitimacy to their actions: each person is at the centre of their own moral universe. Overall, as we have seen, to not talk of authority when it comes to human and/or state action is impossible. Authority does not masks power, but gives it legitimacy: whether this legitimacy applies to a state or person differs from thinker to thinker. One thing we cannot do, however, is talk of power without legitimacy or authority ? remember, ?life simply is the will to power.? ...read more.

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